Borealis Philanthropy: Spark Justice Fund – COVID-Related Rapid Response

The Spark Justice Fund at Borealis Philanthropy will support grassroots organizing groups working to end cash bail, transform pretrial justice, and build power in communities most impacted by incarceration to submit proposals for rapid response funding to meet the needs arising out of of the current COVID-19 pandemic in jails and communities. Specifically, the COVID-Related Rapid Response initiative seeks to help grassroots organizing groups that are working to transform pretrial justice to meet urgent needs arising out of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in jails and communities. Given the grave harms facing people in jails due to COVID and the wide-reaching impact the pandemic is having on grassroots groups and the communities in which they work, Borealis has defined “COVID-related” needs broadly. Borealis will consider supporting any needs arising out of the current pandemic as long as they help groups advance their goals of ending cash bail, reducing jail populations, and promoting alternative community-led visions of justice in their jurisdictions. Funding can be used both for strengthening organizational infrastructure and for substantive campaigns.

In addition to responding to the COVID pandemic, groups are urgently focused on organizing and activism against police brutality. Borealis will also accept applications from groups who are working at the intersections of policing and jails.

Amount: Grants will typically range from $15,000-$25,000; a small number of grants may range up to $50,000.

Eligibility: Groups must:

  • Be an independent 501(c)(3) or be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Work authentically with constituencies most impacted by incarceration. The Fund is particularly interested in supporting groups led by individuals most directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
  • Have an explicit, demonstrated commitment to racial, economic, and gender justice that is reflected in the organization’s leadership and staffing and in how it conducts its work.Demonstrate a clear power-building and leadership-development strategy that meaningfully engages directly impacted communities in defining problems, solutions, and actions.
  • Engage in efforts to end cash bail that are connected to a broader decarceration strategy and to advancing a holistic vision of criminal justice transformation that centers community-led models of justice.

Deadline: October 20, 2020 or until funds are disseminated. Note that it is possible that all funds will be disseminated before October 20 and that groups submitting applications closer to the application closing date will not be considered.


Resource Information
Funder Borealis Philanthropy
Eligibility Nonprofit Organization
Resource URL:
Sector COVID-19 Emergency Response, Criminal/Juvenile Justice
Grant Amount $15,000-$25,000
Deadline Closed